You have most likely heard of Tesla’s autopilot semi-autonomous driving system that exists within its higher quality vehicles. It may not become the norm unless the politics surrounding the system dissolves.
After a number of Autopilot accidents including the death of Joshua Brown, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Tesla’s autopilot system.
Vehicles with Autopilot are equipped with cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors used for Autosteering, and Auto Lane Change. Despite Elon Musk’s apparent faith in Autopilot, Consumer Reports feels otherwise: it wants Tesla to disable the auto steer functions.
Aside from steering, auto steer enables braking and accelerating.
Consumer Reports employee Laura MacCleery explained, “…today, we’re deeply concerned that consumers are being sold a pile of promises about unproven technology.”
Supposedly Tesla Autopilot comes with a “keep your hands on the wheel at all times” warning when activated.
Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear,” Tesla said. “The driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car. This is enforced with onboard monitoring and alerts. To further ensure drivers remain aware of what the car does and does not see, Tesla Autopilot also provides intuitive access to the information the car is using to inform its actions.”
One important thing to note, however, is that not every citizen could manage an airplane even if on Autopilot. Consumer Reports remains worried about the confusion that can take place about when citizens should take control versus continue enabling Autopilot.
Consumer Reports issued several requests to Tesla, some of which include disabling Autosteer, changing the “Autopilot” name, providing more information to consumers, and avoiding beta releases. So far, Tesla is not really taking the hint.